DISB Reaches Settlement With Hundreds Of Mortgage Originators Non-Compliant With Continuing Education Rules
washington d.c.—The District of Columbia’s Department of Insurance, Securities, and Banking (DISB) and financial services regulators in 41 states have reached settlements with 441 mortgage originators nationwide who falsely claimed have completed annual continuing education courses as required by federal and state law.
“I am thrilled that the DISB was able to work collaboratively with fellow regulators across the country to achieve this settlement,” said DISB Commissioner Karima M. Woods. “As regulators, it is imperative that we take all necessary steps to protect consumers, ensure their financial well-being and maintain the mortgage industry at the highest ethical standards.”
Through the settlements, the mortgage originators agreed to give up their licenses for three months, pay a $1,000 fine for each state in which they are licensed, and take continuing education courses beyond that. of the Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act (SAFE Act).
Congress enacted the SAFE Act to strengthen consumer protections and reduce fraud through minimum standards for licensing and registration of state-licensed mortgage originators. The law calls on states to implement and enforce these standards. The District of Columbia and all states have enacted their own version of the SAFE Act, requiring mortgage originators to have at least 20 hours of pre-licensing training and eight hours of continuing education annually.
Real Estate Educational Services (REES), a California-based course provider, provided fake certificates to mortgage originators who had never taken or completed the in-person and online continuing education courses in which they had been enrolled. REES faces administrative enforcement action.
The irregular educational activity was uncovered through a gesture authentication tool called BioSig-ID, which is used to monitor all online courses approved under the SAFE Act mandate.
The mission of the Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking (DISB) is threefold:
(1) cultivate a regulatory environment that protects consumers and attracts and retains financial services businesses in the district; (2) empower and educate residents on financial matters; and (3) provide financing to small businesses in the district. For more information about DISB programs and resources, visit disb.dc.gov or call (202) 727-8000.
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